13 years in power and still wants another term. Does that sound familiar? Well we’re not talking about our political leaders, but the current president of world football governing body FIFA. He has promised that this would be his last term if he was voted again. Whether this is just used as a tool to woo voters into voting for him or it’s genuine, we are yet to know. We’ve seen this in the political scene where leaders promise to serve for the last term if you vote for them, only for them to continue holding on to power until…an uprising happens?
Blatter has promised to promote the future of the youth and fight corruption to the fullest. But the manner in which he regained his seat in the 1998 and 2002 elections was questionable. There were accusations of bribery, financial irregularities and backroom dealings, by a third party, made in the British press by Farra Ado, vice president of the Confederation of African Football and president of Somali Football Federation, who claimed to be offered $100,000 to vote for Blatter in 1998.
The man who was once labeled “a man who has 50 ideas a day, 51 of them bad,” is not shy of controversy. The latest being the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup to Russia and Qatar respectively. This has been considered the worst bids ever. Russia where racism is at high levels and Qatar where drinking is restricted and 50 degrees heat.
In 2004 Blatter declared that female footballers should wear tighter pants to try and increase the popularity of the sport, saying: “Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball… for example, tighter shorts”. His comments were not taken kindly by female footballers, unsurprisingly. “It’s completely irresponsible for a man in a powerful position to make comments like this,” responded Charlton keeper Pauline Cope.
It was also revealed in March 2010 that he held talks with the Hockey president Leandro Negre about the effect of scrapping the offside rule. Are you serious?
These are just some of the ‘ideas’ Sepp had in mind but just to be fair to him, let’s see what changes he has made in football during his reign.
The silver goal replaced the golden goal rule in extra time of play-off matches. Under the golden goal rule, the match ends immediately if one side scores in extra time. The silver goal rule states that the match will end at the half-time period in extra time if one team is leading – otherwise the match will continue until the end of the extra time period. Some fans believe that this rule change makes the game less exciting, while others felt that the game is more fair as a result. The new rule was first applied in the Euro 2004 competition, but it has since been discontinued along with golden goal. All competitions have now reverted to the traditional extra time rules, i.e. they must play the full amount of extra time, no matter what the score is.
Since the 2002 World Cup, the current World Cup champion no longer automatically qualifies for the next World Cup finals, as was the case for the champions of all 16 previous World Cups.
National associations must now enforce immediate suspensions of all players sent off during a game, even if television replays offer compelling evidence of a player’s innocence. In particular, Blatter insists that a referee’s judgement must be seen as final and that mistakes are part of the game. The FA, however, has refused to follow this directive, and allows appeals against straight red cards (though not those resulting from two yellows).
Under Blatter, starting in 2004, the game implemented the booking of players who remove their shirts after scoring a goal, as well as those who are guilty of ‘over-zealous celebrations’. The rationale for this rule change is that football is a global sport, and thus the sensibilities of conservative nations and spectators must be respected.
In 2007, Blatter decided that no football matches will be played above 2500 metres (8200 ft) above sea level. This number was revised to 3000 metres (9840 feet) on 26 June 2007. The move had consequences for the Bolivia national football team, whose stadium (Estadio Hernando Siles) is located more than 3000 metres above sea level. (Wikipedia).
So the other candidate who is running against Sepp Blatter is Mohammed Bin Hammam who has promised more transparency. Do we need a fresh blood in the hot seat or is it a case of ‘It’s better the devil you know than the angel you don’t know.’ The forum thinks we should take the risk and bring in the angel.